At least in his imagination, this boy runs away to sea after being banished to the nursery or lifted by the scruff of the neck or otherwise humiliated by the omnipotent and unreasonable Olympians, whom we call adults.

In many cases, the inevitable triumphs of dangerous engagements at sea lead to these relatives lining up in humility and contrition, with the boy-Nelson showing suitably generous forgiveness. The embellishment of the story as it unfolds in his mind is wonderful, allowing ever greater heights of heroism. Enjoy these vivid images of innocent warfare:

‘… our planks were soon slippery with our own ungrudged and inexhaustible blood…’ p. 132

‘Then rallying round me the remnant of my faithful crew, I selected a fresh cutlass (I had worn out three already) and plunged once more into the pleasing carnage.’ p. 133

May your cutlasses never wear out.

‘The sea was really my sphere, after all.  On the sea, in especial, you could combine distinction with lawlessness…’

Source: Kenneth Grahame, Dream Days, illus. by Maxfield Parrish (Edin.: Paul Harris Publishing, 1983), p. 34

Photo credit: Gaetano Cessati,


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